The F-5A/B Freedom Fighter and F-5E/F Tiger II are part of a family of widely used light supersonic fighter aircraft, designed and built by Northrop in the United States, beginning in 1960s. Hundreds remain in service in air forces around the world in the early 21st Century, and the type has also been the basis for a number of other aircraft. The F-5 started life as a privately funded light fighter program by Northrop in the 1950s. The first-generation F-5A Freedom Fighter entered service in the 1960s. Over 800 were produced through 1972 for U.S. allies during the Cold War. The USAF had no need for a light fighter, but it did need a trainer and procured about 1,200 of a derivative airframe for this purpose, the T-38 Talon. Northrop built 792 F-5Es, 140 F-5Fs and 12 RF-5Es. More were built under license overseas: 91 F-5Es and -Fs in Switzerland, 68 by Korean Air in South Korea, and 308 in Taiwan. With this many aircraft there were numerous retrofit programmes and the Company supplied some 177 units for the F-5E/F.
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Years Manufactured: 1959 - 1987
Platform Type: Fixed Wing, Combat
Initial Maker: Northrop
Final Maker: Northrop